Monterey Matters: Start a new American tradition

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By Dana Burke

I hope everyone is enjoying this wonderful weather we’ve been having. I wish it could be like this all winter.
 I could really do without the snow. Hopefully, we’ll have a nice calm winter this time around. One can only hope, right?
This year has really flown by. Thanksgiving is nearly upon us. I have already seen people putting out the Christmas stuff. I just wish people weren’t in such a rush these days and would just slow down enough to celebrate the holidays as they come. We all have so much to be thankful for these days and so many don’t take the time to do so.
There, I’ve vented, the reason for this is because only one day after Halloween, I saw someone putting up Christmas lights. I enjoy Thanksgiving and the meaning behind it. I am very thankful for my life and everyone in it. I realize people can’t wait till the last minute to do their shopping. I just wish people would try to slow down enough to enjoy Thanksgiving.
OK, now I feel better.
I received a very nice e-mail a few days ago that I would like to share with you.
It does pertain to Christmas, but at the same time makes a whole lot of sense. It also comes with a lot of gift-giving ideas that would really help all Americans.
It was titled “Christmas 2011 — Birth of a New Tradition.” It mentioned several things about how we as Americans can do our part to help out our country, instead of sending our money overseas.
It’s time we learn to think outside the box. Who says a gift has to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese-produced wrapping paper?
Everyone gets a haircut. Why not buy gift certificates from our local salon and barbershops, or gym memberships? Most all of us could stand to be healthier anyway.
Who wouldn’t appreciate getting their car detailed? I’m sure some of our small, American-owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or even a book of gift certificates.
Maybe you are one of those extravagant gift-givers who think of plunking down the Benjamin’s on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift-receiver would like his/her driveway sealed or lawn mowed for the summer, or perhaps their driveway plowed all winter.
There are a “bazillion” owner-run restaurants that offer gift certificates. Remember, folks, this isn’t about big national chains — this is about supporting your local hometown Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.
How many people couldn’t use an oil change done at a shop run by an American working guy?
Thinking about a heartfelt gift for your mom? What mom wouldn’t love to have a local cleaning lady come in for the day? Perhaps you’re looking for something more personal, like local crafts people who spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They also make jewelry, pottery and beautiful wooden boxes. There’s a wonderful place in Monterey to buy these great items.
Maybe you could plan your upcoming holiday outings at a locally owned restaurant, and leave your server a nice tip. Honestly people, do you really need another 10,000 Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a $5 string of lights, about 50 cents stays in the community.
 If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice big tip.
These are just a few of the article’s ideas that would keep our hard-earned money here where it belongs. Just thought I’d share some of them with you.
You see, giving Christmas presents is no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Giving Christmas presents is now about caring about us and encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away.
When we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn’t imagine.